|Alyssa and I at the trailhead|
With sweat pouring off my face I persevered, and as Brene Brown so eloquently stated in a TED talk, I "leaned into the discomfort," forcing my body to do what it didn't want to do. It took over six hours and according to MapMyHike, I burned over 2,900 calories! Certainly enough to offset the Coronas we enjoyed afterward!
|The Summit Mt. Jackson|
- Bike gloves to protect my palms from the poles that I lean on so heavily.
- Three bottles of water, not one!
- Hiking shoes with ankle support. Mine are low and my ankles felt it.
- Figure out how to prevent "toe jam."
I try to stay fit, but exercise isn't really my friend, I have to push myself. I would much rather be reading or gardening, baking or crafting. I do enjoy hiking "lite." A stroll with a gradual incline, no rock scrambles! So why am I doing this? I lost my parents when I was a teenager. I had just turned 15 when I lost my Mother. Not a particularly easy time for such an experience, as if any time is. Now I have a strong faith and have generally found living according to the tenets of my faith to be fairly easy. Even as a teenager it was easy for me to let's say, "not kill anyone" or "covet my neighbor's wife." The tough one for me was that whole honoring your mother and father thing. At fifteen I was in full blown adolescence, a period I've heard referred to as "transient psychosis!" All those hormones flying around and all that neural pruning occurring! I was an impulsive, egocentric kid and not always respectful to my parents. In losing them early I was robbed of the opportunity to reconcile with them.
It's been thirty-eight years and I have often wondered how I could make things right. Running with a friend last summer, she asked if I had given any thought as to how I could honor my Mother. I hadn't. The past is the past, isn't it? What difference would it make now? The difference is, I could do today what I didn't do yesterday. I could take on a challenge as a measure of respect. Respect for the things I learned from my Mother but didn't know I was learning because I was knee-deep in acting like, well, a teenager. From her I learned to love God, to sacrifice for my children, to be brave, to be resilient, to persevere, to work hard.
So when I brought up this idea of doing something in memory of my Mother to my friend Scott, he didn't skip a beat. In true Scott fashion he said four words; "the four thousand footers!" There are forty-eight four thousand foot mountains in New Hampshire and I plan on hiking every one of them in honor of my Mother. It will take me years and I can't imagine it will get any easier.
As for today, I sit on the summit of Mount Jackson with my friend, Alyssa, who has pledged to join me on this journey. I am able to say, "Thank you, Mom, for giving me life and always doing the best with what you had. Thank you for loving me. I love you and will see you again in paradise."